How long 'till dry enough?. . . Oil Finishes.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by DaveCustomMade, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. If I did an oil finish, how long would it take for it to be dry enough to not get on whatever I may be wearing whilst playing?
  2. Moderator, could this be transfered to the Luthier's Corner please?

    Thank you, kindly! :)
  3. It's very simple...Dry is when you can run your CLEAN, dry finger across the surface and it squeeks.

    TOTALLY CURED (what you're after) is when you can't smell ANY oil when you put your nose right up to the body. Hardening oil finishes will attain this state in a couple of days. Soft oil finishes like tung, linseed, or others may never cure to this condition.
  4. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    I was playing my tung oiled bass 36 hours after application. I shouldn't have been, it was still fairly stinky and a little sticky. Didn't get on me, but it's probably not great on a finish that's trying to dry.
  5. Thanks, Hambone! What kind of oil is Hardening oil [what name would I look for]?
  6. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    Not entirely accurate...

    All drying oils "dry" by oxidation, not evaporation. The rule of thumb with raw linseed oil (when using it as a painting medium) is to allow six months before varnishing to allow for complete oxidation, but YMMV.
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

  8. You would be looking for terms like "polymerized" and brand names like "TruOil" from Birchwood Casey (gunstock finish) or "Tried & True" oil from Tried & True Finishes which is a furniture product. In the case of the TruOil, the polymerization (the forming of long chains of molecules - read: hard) is achieved with driers that are mixed in with the oil. TO is (in order of quantity) mineral spirits, an unspecified "modified oil", and a linseed oil mixture. It's the modifed oil and the oil mixture that have the drying elements added. The Tried & Tru oil is a true polymerized linseed oil in the traditional sense of the word. It's made like they did way back, by heating the oil and vaporizing the non-drying components out of the oil. It dries and hardens like TO but doesn't have the quite odor during application. And, it won't get rancid like plain linseed or tung oil. It's a bit more expensive but comes in larger quantities than the TO.

    Do a google for TruOil or just go to
    Try for the Tried & True oil.
  9. Sorry Amper, I don't see where I was inaccurate at all. I didn't mention anywhere how the oil dried and I wasn't helping him with his wetbrush technique. I was simply giving him a well tested rule-of-thumb method to tell when he might safely handle his guitar body after an giving it an unspecified oil finish. But I'm sure he'll be getting back with you when he starts his light/shadow studies. :D
  10. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I have used Fornbey's Tung Oil Finish with good results for a few years now...t
  11. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I was elaborating without really making so much sense there, I suppose. Linseed oil, whether boiled, "stand", raw, or of some other variety will indeed cure completely. It just takes time. Even stand linseed oil will "dry" enough to handle within seven days, assuming the application isn't overly thick. I prefer not to use the varieties with added driers, as the driers tend to be rather toxic heavy metals.
  12. For anyone concerned about the possibility of toxins in these products, I would strongly suggest reading the MSDS on the specific material. For TruOil it would be here:

    A telling section is #16, the HMIS (Health Material Identification System) that assesses the health risk of TruOil at 1 with a personal protection level of C. The C level is pretty tame consisting mostly of the basics like gloves, aprons, and eye protection - all things that are recomended for nearly every compound shy of water. The health risk of 1 is as low or lower lthan any other compound I've ever seen that is considered flammable! And don't put much stock in all of that California Health Risk stuff. They've found the Pledge of Allegiance to be unhealthy out there so that should pretty much tell you where there heads are at! :D
  13. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I wholeheartedly agree with this. Even if you're not al that concerned about toxicity, you can learn a lot about the materials you're working with by reading the MSDS. I have a particular interest in this sort of thing because I used to deal in artist's materials. Some of the more common items used by artists are surprisingly toxic, others are so safe you can eat them in massive quantities...